Stockwell Named Severns Integrity Award Winner

Retiring Macon County Auditor Amy C. Stockwell has been selected for the 2014 Penny Severns Integrity Award. She will receive the honor, sponsored by the Macon County Jefferson-Jackson Club in association with the Macon County Democratic Central Committee, at a reception from 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 6 in the Scovill Golf Course Banquet Center at 3909 West Main Street in Decatur.
The Severns Integrity Award is named in honor of the late State Senator Penny Severns. It is presented to elected officials at either the local or state level who embody the dedication, honesty, and integrity demonstrated by Severns in her career.
The reception will feature keynote speaker Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. President Preckwinkle has been a dedicated community leader for over two decades, providing independent and progressive leadership. Elected Alderman in 1991, President Preckwinkle was elected to her current post in 2010 and is transforming county government into a world-class institution. She is improving the quality of life for her constituents while championing fiscal responsibility.  
Appointed auditor in 2002, Stockwell took office amid Macon County’s worst financial crisis since the 1930s—a $3.1 million internal debt threatening the continuation of vital services. Providing solid financial information and projections, she helped provide the systems necessary for sound financial management and good decision making. Although challenged by declining population and property values, Macon County has responsible reserves and a process which balances costs and benefits.  
Earlier this summer, Stockwell announced she would retire September 5 after 12 years as Macon County Auditor. Stockwell said, “It has been my great honor to serve the citizens and taxpayers of Macon County. The excellent team we have—including all three branches of government—is realistic and accountable, serving its citizens well. I will always be deeply appreciative of being able to work with this team, of your trust in me and of the privilege of doing this work.”
Anyone interested in attending should contact Jay Dunn via email at jayalandunn@gmail.com or by phone at 433-9218.

Ann Callis Rolls Out Reform Agenda

EDWARDSVILLE – JULY 7 --As Former Chief Judge Ann Callis has campaigned on reforming Washington over the last week, Congressman Davis had twice defended the taxpayer funded perks members of Congress receive and his choice to hire a lobbyist to run his office. 
Today, Judge Callis is rolling out her detailed reform agenda that will end the generous perks given to members of Congress and reduce the influence of lobbyists.   
“Congressman Davis continues business as usual in Washington, while Illinois families are hungry for a change,” said Judge Callis. “I have proposed this agenda to start rolling back the generous perks for members of Congress and reduce the influence of lobbyists. Families in the 13th district need to know that their representative is looking out for them, not looking to keep the status quo in Washington.”
According to a Callis press release: “Judge Callis will bring her proven record of results to improving the way Congress serves the people. As Chief Judge of Illinois 3rd Judicial Circuit in Madison and Bond Counties, Callis created the first Veterans Court in Illinois, instituted a mediation program that requires banks to negotiate with homeowners facing foreclosure, and improved transparency and access to the court.
Judge Ann Callis’ Congressional Reform Agenda:

• Cut Congressional Pay and Oppose Pay Raises
“Congress has continued to get paid despite a lack of progress on many major issues. Instead of pushing the burden of debt reduction on to families across this country who are struggling, Judge Callis believes in giving all of Congress a pay cut. And while she is working to make that happen, she is pledging to return 10% of her salary to help reduce the deficit.”

• No More Lobbyists on the Payroll

“As one of his first acts, Congressman Rodney Davis hired a lobbyist to run his office and serve as Chief of Staff. As a tough judge and reformer, Ann Callis is pledging not to hire any staff that have worked as a registered lobbyist. She is committed to hiring people whose sole interest is helping families in Illinois’ 13th District.”

• Crack Down on Wall Street Lobbyists
“Congressman Davis’ ally, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, gutted the STOCK Act and removed provisions that would require Wall Street’s new “political intelligence” firms to register like regular lobbyists. And now Washington insiders are profiting from this loophole. Just like she did on the bench, Judge Callis will get tough and push to bring those provisions back. And she’ll fight to empower tough prosecutors to go after public officials who use their insider knowledge for profit.”

• No Congress? No Paycheck
“Congressman Rodney Davis joined many and voted to shut down the government last year. Congressional perks like the taxpayer-funded gym and beauty salon remained open. Judge Callis will introduce a bill to ensure that Congress does not get paid during a government shutdown. Also, Judge Callis is proposing to end the taxpayer funded subsidies for the members-only gym and beauty salon. Taxpayers should not be subsidizing the costs for these perks. If members of Congress want a gym, they should pay for it like everyone else.”

• No more taxpayer-funded health care for life

“Congressman Davis has voted over and over again to give himself taxpayer-funded health care for life. Judge Callis doesn’t believe members of Congress should get taxpayer-funded health care for life and will vote against it.”

• Time for a Downgrade: No More Taxpayer-funded First Class Flights

“When traveling, members of Congress get even more perks. They can travel first class, park free at the airport, and lease a luxury vehicle all on taxpayer dollars. Judge Callis is committed to reforming the system to make sure these perks are not available to any members with taxpayer dollars.”

Manar to host discussion on education funding, other state issues in Decatur

Event part of Manar’s Capitol on Your Corner program

 SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) is hosting a discussion on education funding and other state issues on July 9 in Decatur as part of his “Capitol on Your Corner” program.

 The event is from 6 to 7:30 pm July 9 at the Homework Hangout at 249 S. Webster Street in Decatur.

 Manar regularly hosts “Capitol on your Corner” events in communities across the 48th District to meet with constituents and answer questions about state government. But with the recent action in Springfield on Manar’s proposal to reform school funding, Manar anticipates the discussion at the event to focus on education.

 “Illinois has the second-most inequitable school funding system in the nation. Our current funding system is doing a disservice to taxpayers, school districts and, most importantly, our children,” Manar said. “The funding system we are proposing will better address student needs, such as socio-economic background, language ability or special learning needs, while also accounting for a school district’s ability to raise funds locally.”

 In early April, Manar introduced the School Funding Reform Act, a proposal to streamline the current hodgepodge of funding sources into one funding formula that would account for school districts’ funding needs. Today, only 44 percent of the state education spending is balanced against a local district’s ability to pay.

 Keep an eye on www.SenatorAndyManar.com or subscribe to Senator Manar’s e-newsletter for more details. If you’re unable to attend a meeting, you can still share your thoughts with Senator Manar by visiting his website.


Illinois Hospital Association Honors 
U.S. Representative Rodney Davis as Rural Legislator of the Year


Rodney Davis and group 2

Dr. Charles Lucore, CEO, St. John’s Hospital, Springfield; Lori Williams, VP, Membership, IHA;
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-13); Dan Raab, CEO, Taylorville Memorial Hospital; 
Rex Brown, CEO, Hillsboro Area Hospital; and Tom Eckels, VP, Public Policy and Advocacy, Hospital Sisters Health System

 Springfield – The Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) presented its seventh annual Rural Legislator of the Year Award to U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-13) for his strong commitment and support of small and rural hospitals today.

 “Congressman Davis understands the unique needs and challenges facing small and rural hospitals and their leaders as they work to transform the health care delivery system in Illinois,” said IHA President and CEO Maryjane A. Wurth. “The Congressman appreciates the critical role that the state’s small and rural hospitals play in their communities, not only as quality care providers, but also as economic engines—employing more than 39,000 people and having a total economic impact of more than $10.8 billion annually.”

 Accepting the award, Congressman Davis thanked small and rural hospitals for “ensuring that my constituents have access to the same quality, life-saving care provided in more urban areas.” He referenced his wife, Shannon, a nurse, health care’s “biggest advocate.” The Congressman also reiterated the critical role of hospitals in the 13th District in providing care in rural communities.

“Helping you to continue to offer high quality care is a priority of mine in Washington,” said Congressman Davis. “That includes: helping you to train more doctors by increasing GME [graduate medical education] slots; preventing overregulation in Washington—like the 96-hour certification requirement, the two-midnight rule… and helping you to invest in new technology and techniques, like telemedicine, by supporting existing and new competitive grant programs.”

 In his nomination of Congressman Davis for the award, Daniel J. Raab, President and CEO, Taylorville Memorial Hospital, said, “Congressman Davis regularly visits hospitals within his district and is enthusiastic in discussing rural health issues. He understands the barriers associated with those who struggle with access to health care, as well as the increasing demands on providers as they provide safe, clinically effective patient care.”

 IHA’s Rural Legislator of the Year Award recognizes state and/or federal leaders for their efforts to pass legislation and support initiatives that improve the ability of rural hospitals to serve their communities. Recipients are based on nominations from small and rural hospital leaders.

 IHA’s Small & Rural Hospitals Constituency Section includes 88 hospitals that either have fewer than 150 acute care beds and/or are located outside a metropolitan statistical area.

Mike Bell Calls on Rep. Scherer to Honor her Promises

Springfield- Mike Bell (R-Edinburg), candidate for the 96th District, is urging his opponent, Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur), to honor her promises to the residents of Central Illinois. Scherer has campaigned on a pledge to cut the salaries of lawmakers, including her own. Last week however, she voted to raise the pay for all Illinois legislators.

“The citizens of this district deserve for their representative to live up to her word,” said Bell. “But Sue keeps following a pattern of promising one thing to voters, then doing the exact opposite.”

This budget vote came just days after a similar move from Scherer. Despite campaigning to oppose an extension to the current income tax hike, Scherer voted for another budget that was based on extending the tax hike.

Bell said that, as for her most recent budget gaffe, Scherer was quoted in several media sources as saying that she didn't know the pay-raise was in the budget plan when she voted for it.

“If that's the case, then she cast a vote on one of the most important bills of the year without knowing what was in it. What other important bills did she vote on without reading?” asks Bell. “So either she doesn't do her homework, or she hasn't been honest with voters. Both are scary propositions indeed.”

Bell points out that Scherer began her political career by promising voters she would take on the Illinois political establishment and the status quo. Then she promptly began accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Mike Madigan and the Chicago Democrats.

“Who else represents the political establishment and the status quo more than the Chicago Democratic Machine? They've been running this state into the ground for years. It certainly looks like Sue is just taking their money and their marching orders,” said Bell. “It's time for a change. I take my directives from the citizens of Central Illinois, not Mike Madigan and Pat Quinn.”

Congressman Rodney Davis Endorses Mike Bell
for State Representative

Taylorville- Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) is joining with concerned citizens across Central Illinois to support Mike Bell (R-Edinburg) in his candidacy for the 96th House district.
“I believe that as a legislator, Mike Bell will be a true workhorse for the families and businesses of the 96th District,” said Davis. “He is responsive to constituents. He understands the issues. He has the background to represent our area.”
Congressman Davis cited a long working relationship with Bell on projects including the completion of a 4-lane Illinois Route 29 from Springfield to Taylorville. He noted Bell's leadership on the Project 29 Committee, and how he dedicated himself to see that project finally enter the final stages.
"He is a tireless advocate who I believe will work hard for the people of our area and will be a true voice for us at the State Capitol,” said Davis.
Davis also noted Bell's experience as an educator with the Department of Corrections, and as a teacher in the Edinburg School District. Bell has made education a primary focus of his campaign, vowing to work to ensure that school funding is both adequate and fair. Davis and Bell also stand together in opposing any new income tax increases, and in their support to repair the economy the right way, by growing business and jobs.
“It is absolutely humbling to hear such kind words from a man I respect so much,” said Bell. “As a Congressman, Rodney Davis has been a true champion for the people of this great state. He is an inspiration to me, and I vow to follow his lead in helping to take Illinois back for the people.” 

Scherer Legislation to Help Unemployed Workers Apply for College Aid Clears Committee

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an attempt to help low-income residents who lose their jobs have access to financial aid for educational and job training programs, state Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, passed legislation out of the Higher Education Committee on Wednesday, making small changes to how MAP grants are given out, but with no added cost to the state.

“Across the state, and especially in my district, high jobless rates have left many people feeling like they have nowhere to turn, but I believe that we can open opportunities for more education and training,” said Scherer. “Without putting a greater burden on taxpayers, I am working to make sure that people who need assistance to go back to school or explore new career paths have support and options.”

Scherer’s Senate Bill 3306 would allow low-income workers who lose their jobs after financial aid application deadlines to have a shot at MAP grant funds to send them back to school or to job training programs. Scherer worked with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the Senate sponsor, Sen. Chapin Rose, and colleagues throughout the state to find a way to help unemployed workers looking to attend college for job training. If passed, her proposal will apply for a two-year trial period, to track the progress of helping job seekers access funding without having to wait until the following year and without a cost to the state.

Scherer is hopeful that this change will help students who are motivated to learn a new field or skill be able to re-enter the job market quickly.“As unemployed workers seek to strengthen or re-tool their employable skills, they are returning to their local community college where they can obtain certificates or Applied Associate in Science degrees in areas such as Precision Machining (CNC), Metal Working (Welding), Mechatronics (Mechanical and Electronics), and Maintenance,” said Richland Community College President Dr. Gayle Saunders. “Community colleges work with our local Workforce Investment Boards to secure funding for some of these workers, but one thing that is almost certain, these workers do not have access to MAP funding simply because they have missed the MAP application deadline.  This legislation seeks to correct this concern.”

Senate Bill 3006 is awaiting consideration by the House. For more information, please contact Scherer’s constituent service office at 217-877-9636, or by email at StateRepSue@gmail.com.Scherer represents the 96th District, which includes portions of Christian, Macon and Sangamon counties.

Ann Callis

13th Congressional District Race 
Ann Callis: My Candidacy Brings
Fresh Perspective

By Paul Osborne

Ann Callis, the Democratic candidate running against incumbent Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) in the 13th Congressional District, sat down with me at the Decatur Tribune one morning last week, to talk about her campaign.
Callis, of Edwardsville, is a former chief judge of Illinois' Third Judicial Circuit -- a position she resigned so she could run for Congress.
Callis told me her worst day on the campaign so far was the day when she announced she was resigning her judgeship and running for Congress.
“I made both of those announcements on the same day which probably wasn’t a wise thing to do,” she said.  “I had been a judge for so long that I had really lost my professional persona.  That day was the most difficult day I’ve had.
“I can say, on a more personal note, that my son, who enlisted in the army following his graduation from college, was deployed in January, in the middle of the primary race.  I can say, as far as my personal life, that was the hardest day of my life, in saying goodbye to my boy.”
Her son is an Army Ranger and is presently serving in Kuwait.
When I asked Callis if she had already planned to resign her judgeship, even if she didn’t run for Congress, she said, “No.  There are strict rules which required me to resign to run for Congress.  I know it was a huge risk to step down from being chief judge, because I was able to do so many positive things, but I recognized there is a wider range of opportunities to help people when you are serving in Congress.”
Overall, Callis was a judge for 18 years and chief judge for 7 of those years.
“That’s when I really learned you can help people through serving in public office,” she said. “We were able to start such programs as the first veterans’ court in the state -- with no taxpayer expense.”
She talked about assembling a lot of volunteer help via attorneys for such programs as foreclosure mediation work that has saved over 130 homes -- with very low cost in maintenance for the program.
She indicated that “I didn’t care if the person involved with the committee was a Democrat or Republican.  I just wanted the best person to serve on that committee to get the job done.  I think that type of message resonated in the primary and will continue to resonate in the general election.”
Her opponent, U. S. Rep. Rodney Davis, has reported raising $2 million dollars for his re-election campaign during this campaign season, about twice what Callis has raised so far.
When asked what she would bring to the people of Macon County that they are not receiving now, Callis replied, “a fresh perspective”. 
Callis said that, during the visits she has made to Macon County, she has personally ob-served that “people are really hurting”.
“I’ve seen that we have people in Macon County that are choosing be-tween diapers and food,” she said.  “I think we can do things immediately to help people and that includes raising the minimum wage.  Six out of the ten minimum wage workers in Illinois are women.  Many of them are heads of households.
“I think we also need to extend long-term unemployment benefits.  I think people that I talk to really are looking for work.”

Sees A Lot Of Hurt, Hope

Callis said that, although she sees a lot of hurt as she is traveling around the district, she also sees a lot of hope.
“I think I am an effective listener and I am anxious to hear new ideas about what we can do.”
Callis also said that Decatur and Macon County have a lot to offer and business and labor don’t have to go head to head on moving the area forward.
“We can work together and form a coalition, which is what I did when I served as chief judge...build a coalition to get things done.”
Callis emphasized that Macon County has a lot of opportunities to create jobs in the future by building on the assets that are already here.  She indicated the leadership and programs are here to move in positive directions in such areas as wind energy.
She indicated that PELL Grants should not be cut in the federal budget because they help people who would not have the opportunity to go to college. (A Pell Grant is money the U.S. federal government provides for students who need it to pay for college.)
“Everything is going to be a challenge, but I would be ready to work from day one to make our communities better,” she said.
As far as her stance on the Affordable Health Care Act, Callis said that everyone agrees the rollout was awful  
“No one disputes that,” she said.  “The subject comes up a lot and since I’ve come in after it became law, I’ve made it a point to listen and look at it from a different perspective.  If there are issues with parts of it, then we need to work through those issues for as long as it takes.”
Callis said that one of the issues that’s been raised to her, was about rising rates, and if that is a real issue, then  those concerns need to be addressed.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who have been helped with the Affordable Health Care Act,” she said, adding those parts that are troublesome need to be fixed.

Scherer Votes to Waive License Plate Fee
for Wounded Veterans

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To continue serving former military members and their families, state Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, voted to a cut state fees on license plates for wounded veterans recently. Scherer also supported legislation helping more veterans receive honorary license plates.
“Men and women who were wounded in defending our country have paid for our freedom, and they shouldn’t have to pay a state fee to have that sacrifice recognized,” Scherer said. “This bill will help veterans and their families make ends meet, and thank them for their service.
Scherer voted to pass House Bill 4491, which allows a person eligible for Purple Heart license plates to display the plate on one vehicle without payment of any registration or renewal fee.  Currently, veterans must pay a registration fee or registration renewal fee for each plate applied for or received. The measure received bipartisan support in the House, and now awaits consideration in the Senate.
Scherer also helped to pass a number of bills giving more veterans and their families the ability to receive honorary license plates. House Bill 5143 creates World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial license plates for cars and trucks; House Bill 5486 creates the Yellow Ribbon license plate for cars and trucks; and House Bill 5475 adds sons or daughters of fallen soldiers to the list of family members who may display Gold Star license plate recipients. Currently, the Gold Star license plate is reserved for any Illinois resident who is the surviving widow, widower, sibling or parent of a person who served in the military of the United States and lost his or her life during peacetime or war. 
“Serving veterans and their families is a solemn duty and a tremendous responsibility,” Scherer said. “I will continue to support efforts to reduce the burden on veterans, assist their transition back into civilian life and honor their many sacrifices.” 
Scherer represents the 96th District, which includes portions of Christian, Macon and Sangamon counties.

or to: Decatur Tribune, 
P. O. Box 1490, 
Decatur, IL 62525-1490.

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